The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Saturday, December 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Commentary / Special education


Sequester is hurting people with disabilities

Students with disabilities have been greatly harmed by the brutal and mindless cuts to the federal budget known as sequestration. And if Congress and President Obama don't take action to end sequestration, additional automatic special education budget cuts will be imposed every year for the next nine years.
When Congress failed to reach agreement on a federal budget by the end of last February, this triggered an automatic 5 percent cut in funds for Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The U.S. Department of Education estimates the sequester cut about $579 million from IDEA. This affects about 6.5 million students with disabilities who are between the ages of 3 and 21.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities, a Washington-based advocacy group, recently surveyed more than 1,000 parents of students with disabilities benefitting from educational programs and services funded under IDEA. More than half of the parents surveyed said their children had been adversely affected by sequester cuts. The parents reported increases in class sizes, discontinuation of supports and services and dismissal of special education personnel.
Since the sequester took effect, the amount of special education money the federal government provides for states has dropped to its lowest level since 2001, according to the center.
The harm of this abandonment of special education reverberates through other student populations as some local school districts are trying to fund mandated special education services by shifting funds from other areas of their budgets.
The temporary budget agreement that ended the federal government shutdown left these cuts to special education in place. As negotiations continue to reach a long-term federal budget deal by the Dec. 13 deadline, it's imperative that the sequester ends.
It has caused too much pain already.
Mike Ervin is a disability-rights activist.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.